What Is And What Isn’t Feminism: Anthony Weiner

Honestly.  You call yourself a feminist, and everyone thinks you have something to say about Anthony Weiner . . .

Of course, the real intent, I imagine, is for not-feminists and other conservatives to trip us up — to see if our answer is sufficiently consistent, not betraying favoritism to the liberal Anthony Weiner after criticizing conservative males of dubious character.  In this respect, it’s a little like the scribes and Pharisees asking Jesus Christ seemingly sincere questions about Mosaic law, hoping to catch him in some violation of either Law or logic.  The difference, of course, is that whoever questions me is far more likely to come away impressed with my deft and perspicacious response, which I hardly think you needed me to remind you.

Nevertheless, for those who wonder how strongly I’ll come out against Weiner after my criticisms of misogynistic Republicans, I’ll offer my thoughts — and then, and far more important, a link to a great article about feminist and pseudo-feminist responses to the Weiner affair.  It’s terrific and well worth reading. 

It seems abundantly clear that Anthony Weiner is not fit to hold public office.  At best, he possesses pitifully poor judgment and an utter lack of character; at worst, he’s sick, and his sickness, unaddressed, means that he cannot be trusted to represent his constituents with integrity, respect, and honor.  I suspect I’d favor most of his political policies, but in Weiner’s voracious appetite for women, he shows them enormous contempt.  There are many millions of men who like women and express it in ways that evince that, really, they don’t like women much at all.  He is that kind of man — a man who cannot be trusted with the compliment of being called a “feminist” because of his clear disregard for the closest woman in his life, his wife, Huma Abedin.  Feminism has at least as much to do with character as it does with politics.

This is not, however, a comment on Abedin, which is a more significant point than anything I might say about her, and is the focus of the link below.  Simply put, Huma Abedin is the only person who has the right to judge Huma Abedin’s response to Weiner’s behavior.  I’d like to think that, should I ever be in the same situation as she, I’d make the “right” decision.  But only the woman in that position knows what is and what isn’t the “right” thing to do — because it’s right for HER. 

Squirming at my apparent moral relativism?  You shouldn’t.  It’s not a clear-cut Scriptural case — does his conduct rise to the level that it might properly be termed infidelity, which would give the Muslim Abedin, who presumably isn’t looking for it, Biblical sanction to divorce the Jewish man she’s married to?  (And do we continue to hold women to the two-points-only grid — adultery and abandonment — of what constitutes a “Biblical” divorce?  I suggest that’s not an example of fidelity to Scripture but to patriarchy, and that’s another post . . . ).  What’s “relative” here is exactly what ought to be, and that’s the assurance that every marriage overflows with history, context, experiences, victories, and defeats, that make it unique and all judgments about it absolutely relative.  Is it proper, much less reasonable, for anyone outside of it to declare much of anything about the state of the union or the status of those within it?

Huma Abedin strikes me as a woman abundantly capable of doing the “right” thing in any circumstance, and the rightness of whatever decision she makes regarding her future with her husband ought to be affirmed, just because SHE is the one making it.  It’s not “more feminist” for her to leave him than not, and that’s the point of the article below:


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